ISOTROPY AND ABSOLUTE VELOCITY OF LIGHT, AND THE RELEVANCE OF FEYNMAN & WHEELER’S ABSORBER THEORY
I hesitated before including this section, since it only holds water if it assumed that the universe is closed and finite, and presumably expanding outwards, in accordance with Hubble’s observations. I have little doubt that this is too simplistic a way in which to consider the universe for most cosmologists, too cut and dried with not enough mystery about it with no deference to the eleven possible dimensions that we are told are probably necessary by some experts to make the mathematics consistent. Having said that, I have no idea why the universe should not be closed and finite, especially as it is easier to visualise than the alternative of infinite and boundless. I first made many of the conclusions below in the early eighties but did not include them with the sections above for fear they would at once be ridiculed and reduce credibility for the main body of my work on the operation of memory.
However, twenty years ago very few anticipated that dark matter and dark energy might comprise about 95% of the universe, or that there was more than likely a thundering great black hole in the centre of our galaxy. So if the professionals can be capable of changing their world views on such subjects so radically, I am now encouraged to think that the radical quality of my proposals below are relatively small fry compared to the necessary mental reversals in cosmological paradigms which are being necessitated by the concept of dark energy.
One of the conclusions from section B is that the duplication of similar intervals in time causes these similar actions to be radiated out at light velocity through all space, presumably in a rapidly expanding sphere. It occurred to me that another way of putting this was to say that what we had here was a great number of events similar to almost singular levels, each resonating out through all space at one moment in time. To visualise this I recalled that from the Special Theory of Relativity, if one sat on a light beam in motion then time would be subjectively be standing still. This in turn caused me to ponder on why these resonances should be spread out at light velocity: why not some other arbitrary speed? What was so special about light velocity, other than the structure of the whole universe depended on it? There was one other half-formed conclusion that had also vestigially occurred to me, that like attracts like and was maybe applicable here. One specific structure in space (the more complex the better) could cause another later similar pattern to resonate with it and more perfectly duplicate its structure. Conversely, one specific structure or pattern in time could invoke an identical action at relatively the same moment elsewhere provided, and it is a large proviso, that the similarity was to almost singular levels (or the structure was sufficiently regular and complex enough). So it seemed to me that in general terms that somehow there was a tendency for singularity states to duplicate the action of other singularity states.
It also occurred to me that this had some similarity with the way in which I conceived the notion of the start of the universe: the Big Bang. When first faced with this concept I automatically thought that if there was a big bang when time and space suddenly came into being and spread out at vast velocities, what was there before and and/or what was out there beyond its extremities? In terms of contemporary physics, I supposed it was possible to regard this beyond area as yet another singularity state: why not? After all how else to consider it unless it is ignored entirely as being beyond comprehension and my own definition of the singularity state, seemed to be straightforward and as adequate as anything else I had read about the subject.
If we adopted this concept, then here was the biggest singularity state imaginable, not just a huge black hole raging in the middle of our galaxy, which after all is a fairly radical concept which has recently become generally accepted, but something much larger than that. If there was an outer edge to the universe, a rim beyond which there was maybe a whole new different universe beyond space and time, then this was the largest singularity state imaginable. This was a novel consideration which had the advantage of great simplicity, so much so that for a number of years I dismissed it as being just too easy. Surely no hypothesis which depended on something as simple as the universe being enclosed and finite with an edge to it could be fundamentally correct? It seemed to me that the science we knew was too complex and sophisticated to countenance something as basic as an expanding sphere. If the universe were instead something more miasmic such as being infinite then that was more likely to be acceptable, just because the concept was incapable of being fully comprehended. That was how I thought initially a decade or two ago.
Then later I read of the speculations of a number of competent physicists that in general terms there were three possible conditions for the universe: unbounded and infinite; unbounded and finite, bounded and finite. I knew at once which I preferred: the latter, since the other two were impossible to visualise, although I was concerned that I had come across little discussion of it as a viable scenario, perhaps because it was just too simple for the sophisticates of complex science. So I then went on to develop the notion of a singular rim and boundary to a finite universe which was expanding presumably at the limiting velocity of light. At this point, I suddenly saw there might be a very simple rationalisation of why light velocity was such a crucial and dominant constant, controlling just about everything within its ambit. If there was such a phenomenon as the big bang and the universe is expanding outwards, and it has a finite edge, then that outer edge cannot be expanding out at any more than light velocity according to the rules of physics as we know them, and presumably it would be in the form of a vast sphere.
When this was allied to my general conclusion that singularity states of motion tended to duplicate each other, I considered it not improbable that very small near singular actions such as oscillations of electrons in a regular alternating current might be inclined to duplicate the action of that much larger singularity, the motion of outer edge of the universe. Again it was suspiciously simple, but I saw that it had the capability of providing some very interesting possible results, and was worthy of further delving. For instance, why should not every wave front should be drawn out to duplicate the motion of the largest singularity state of the lot, the outer edge of the universe? If the latter was expanding out at a particular velocity, say C, then every smaller oscillation that caused a tremor in the fabric of space time by being close to singularity would tend to mimic the action of that huge dominant motion. In short, the expansion of the singularim, as I started to call it, mediated the velocity of light within the universe. Again, it was such a simple result that it was hard for me to take seriously: surely others must have considered such a notion before me and had presumably dismissed it as being too undemanding. But there were some fascinating implications to be explored in such a hypothetical case, too intriguing to be ignored. These will be mentioned later, but first the rationalisation with and reinforcement from existing theory ought to be explained.
Something else that caused me to start taking the whole notion of the singularim more seriously was the Absorber Theory of Wheeler and Feynman, first published in the Review of Physics 1945. I had read about this in the late seventies but at the time it seemed too technical for me to bother to absorb its detail and anyway, it was held out to be not much more than an elegant mathematical exercise in cosmology with little or no implications for the real world. I came across it later and noticed at once that one of the conditions required for its operation was that the universe be enclosed in an opaque container. This might have seemed somewhat obscure to many, but I saw at once that my notion of the singularim and a bounded and finite universe fitted the bill without a hint of demur. I hastened to absorb all I could about it.
The theory expounds a novel manner in which the universe might operate and which did not depend on the notion of causality that is required by exchange particles or photons in physics today. I found the theory to be best explained in a book by P.C.W.Davies, ‘Space and Time in the Modern Universe’ by P.C.W.Davies, Lecturer in Applied Mathematics at Kings College London (Cambridge University Press 1977). Rather than attempting to paraphrase, the clearest and certainly more authoritative explanation is to quote an extract at some length from this book.
“In 1945 John Wheeler and Richard Feynman, two of the most distinguished American theoretical physicists of the post war years, published a novel and elegantly simple explanation of why electromagnetic waves only travel outwards into the universe or, more picturesquely, why radio signals only travel forwards in time. Curiously, the motivation behind the Wheeler Feynman theory was not one directly connected with time asymmetry but rather with the structure of charged elementary particles. These authors sought to remove certain formidable mathematical difficulties, which for decades had, have plagued the descriptions of the interaction of charged particles with the electromagnetic field. although the new theory meets with some success in this direction, all attempts to produce a quantum mechanical version of it seem inevitably to reintroduce mathematical difficulties once again. For this reason, much of the original advantage of the theory is lost, and the arguments for accepting it are less compelling. Nevertheless, Wheeler and Feynman’s ingenious idea has proved an attractive framework for all sorts of speculation on the subject of time asymmetry and cosmology, particularly among cosmologists themselves.
Recall that Maxwell was the first person to combine the known laws of electricity and magnetism into a unified electromagnetic field theory that predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves. The mechanism for the production of these waves is an electric current, now known to be due to the motion of electrically charged particles, such as electrons. In order to become a source of waves, a charged particle must be accelerated. The electromagnetic field, which surrounds the particle, is forced to adjust itself to the changing motion of the particle and the resulting disturbance propagates away in the form of waves. These waves carry energy so that the accelerating particle can be said to radiate, or emit radiation. The radiated energy must be paid for, and it appears to be at the expense of the energy of the particle, the accelerated motion of which is therefore damped. The effect of the damping is to exert a force on the particle, called the radiation damping force. In practice, this force is extremely small. The branch of physics, which deals with the interaction of electromagnetic fields and moving charged particles, is called electrodynamics.
Because electrodynamics based on Maxwell’s theory is completely symmetrical in time, the possibility also arises of the reverse process, where electromagnetic waves strike an accelerating charged particle and become absorbed as a consequence. This is a well-known phenomenon also. What is at issue here is not the correctness of the reversibility but the following: a particle, which is arbitrarily accelerated apparently, causes the radiation of retarded waves in a coherent pattern of motion that spreads outwards from the vicinity of the particle. It does not ’cause’ the reverse process where waves, which, having traveled inwards from the remote parts of the universe in different directions, impinge upon the particle in a coherent wave, pattern, and become absorbed. One way of expressing this is to say that accelerating a charged particle causes waves to be emitted into the future, but not into the past.
Wheeler and Feynman did not change the basic form of Maxwell’s theory, but found a (possible) deeper reason for why only future directed radiation occurs, rather than the dismissal that the universe is simply ‘made that way’. This they did by analysing what would happen if an accelerating charged particle emitted radiation equally onto the past and future. Of course, sending signals into the past involves all sorts of paradoxes. Clearly, this type of behaviour is in straight contradiction with experience. nevertheless Wheeler and Feynman guessed that there might be a collective motion by many similar particles, the waves from which, when taken all together, might be familiar and acceptable fully retarded (future and outgoing) form, even though individually they were time symmetric…..
Wheeler and Feynman found the following remarkable result. Suppose a single, charged particle in empty space, when set into motion, radiates symmetrically one half advanced waves into the past, and one half retarded waves into the future (the latter being ordinary radio waves with which we are familiar). Then that same particle, when placed into an opaque box, will only fully radiate fully retarded waves into the future. Open the box and the advanced waves will reappear.
What happens inside the box is this. The waves from the accelerating particle move outwards until they strike the inside surface of the box, where they set into motion the charged electrons from the box atoms. The retarded wave strikes the box a little after it leaves the vicinity of the particle, but the advanced wave strikes the box before the particle has even been moved! therefore, paradoxically, the electrons in the box vibrate in anticipation of the subsequent motion of the charged particle. The prospect of causing a response in the walls of the box at an earlier time may appear a little bizarre, because in human experience a cause always precedes it effect. nevertheless, in physics, the difference between cause and effect is not really relevant; all that matters is interaction. It is quite permissible either to interchange cause and effect. or else to have cause following effect in time, provided that everything is self-consistent.
The vibration of the box electrons (both before and after the motion of the original charged particle) will themselves generate waves and, according to Wheeler and Feynman’s assumption. These waves will also be radiated into both past and future. Thus the original moving particle, when placed inside the box, thereby becomes associated with a complex pattern of advanced and retarded waves from the walls of the box. These waves will interfere with each other in a very complicated fashion. The salient feature of Wheeler and Feynman’s work was to demonstrate by a simple calculation that, provided the box is fully opaque (so that no waves whatever can penetrate to the exterior) then the advanced waves from the box just cancel the advanced waves from the source particle. Moreover, they enhance the retarded waves from the source particle up to full strength. The effect of the response waves from the box on all the charged particles is to cancel all the anticipatory motions occurring before the source particle is moved, and to produce exactly the right radiative damping force on the source particle to account for the transfer of the energy from the particle to the walls of the box. To an inhabitant inside the box, the electrodynamic behaviour of the system is thus entirely in accordance with our everyday experience. If, however, the box is not entirely opaque, paradoxical advanced effects still occur.”
A development of this argument showed that electromagnetic waves could be considered as perfectly symmetrical in time, and it showed that, instead of the concept of the electromagnetic field, this would have to be replaced by the concept of direct action-at-a-distance between the charged particles. This latter would not be instantaneous type, which characterises Newton’s theory of gravitation, but a delayed action, propagated at light speed. This action would operate both forwards and backwards in time. An implication of this Absorber Theory can also be shown to be that the universe will collapse back to a point, which is what one might reasonably expect, if the behaviour of the universe is to be symmetrical, and it is currently expanding outwards from a point of the big bang.
Here is what Davies says further in his book on the Absorber Theory.
“This direct action of particle on particle is not of the instantaneous type which Characterises Newton’s theory of gravitation, but is a delayed action which propagates at light speed. It is, moreover an action that operates both forwards and backwards in time. As we have seen, such an action principle, though a little unusual, is indistinguishable inside an opaque box from the results of Maxwell’s theory, based on the propagation of disturbances through a field. However, the advantage of describing electrodynamics solely in terms of particle interactions is that it places the time asymmetry back in the subject of many particle motions, or thermodynamics, where it is well understood. According to this theory, it is no longer necessary to account for the time asymmetry of waves in the electromagnetic field, for there is no field at all.
Naturally the absorber theory of Wheeler and Feynman can only be taken seriously if the real world behaves like the interior of a perfectly opaque enclosure, otherwise should have to contend with unpleasant advanced effects (backwards causality). There is certainly nothing very opaque about the universe in the vicinity of our galaxy. Indeed, light may travel for many hundreds of millions of years without encountering a substantial amount of matter. Whether or not all radiation will eventually be absorbed rather depends on the condition of the universe in the far future. An insistence on the absorber theory therefore amounts to a statement about how the universe will end, so that in a certain sense the local behaviour of electromagnetic radiation enables us to look into the future and foretell what will happen to the cosmos. A simple calculation then shows that, within the standard context of the Friedmann cosmological models, the universe is going to collapse.”
It can be seen that there is a strong correlation between the Absorber Theory and the way in which Duplication Theory postulates above that electromagnetic action is transferred: not through an exchange particle -the photon- but via a form of resonance or a concept of force at a distance. Furthermore, although the Absorber Theory does not say much specific about the nature of the opaque box, a singular boundary moving out at light velocity seems to be as viable a version of an opaque box as anything else imaginable.
When I first came across the Absorber Theory in the late seventies, I did not realise just how influential a figure in physics Richard Feynman was. More recently, I have learned that he is regarded as one of the most eminent physicists of the 20th century and so when I came to examine his absorber theory again I concluded that it reinforced the possibility that there must be something of relevance in my own Duplication Theory. The similarities were so numerous and so striking that I could not credit that it was mere coincidence and I was encouraged to develop a few further implications on the subject of light that at once became glaringly obvious.
What did I know about light? I have postulated that the time interval or similar action resonance effect spreads out through the universe at a certain velocity, and that this is that of light. The latter is known to be a constant of huge significance and as I have mentioned above, any enquiring mind must ask: why should it be at this specific velocity? My answer is that it is because the outer rim of the universe is traveling out at a specific velocity and every electromagnetic of action within which involved repetition of action will cause a ripple in the framework of space time which will duplicate or resonate with that outwards motion exactly. This may seem just too much a simplistic interpretation of cosmology to be even considered possible, but it provides a very simple explanation for the isotropic way in which light behaves, which otherwise can cause non physicists some bafflement, and as with the Absorber Theory, it disposes of the complications of force at a distance and of renormalisation that the physicist Dirac so disliked.
Consider an oscillating charge generating electromagnetic waves, (or a light source from a fluorescent tube for that matter) near the centre of the universe. If we assume that the outer edge is expanding out at light velocity, the motion of the generating source close to the centre will be minimal compared to that of the periphery, although it will be expanding slightly outwards. the EM waves will duplicate the action of the singular boundary (the singularim) exactly in all directions, and will radiate out in the form of a slightly squashed sphere, flattened along the line of motion, as far as an observer outside the universe were concerned, assuming for the moment that were possible.
This is represented by position 1, in diagram A. At position 2, halfway between the centre and the rim, the generating source will be moving outwards at about 1/2 C, half the velocity of the singularim, C, and as a result, the wave front of EM radiation will not be so spherical, but more ellipsoidal, or squashed and lengthened along the line of motion. at position 3, very close indeed to the singularim, the source is traveling at, say nine tenths C, the EM waves in the line of motion between the source and the nearest point of the singularim, will be traveling at a velocity only slightly greater than that of the source. This will result in a compression of wave fronts, and a large extension on the other side of source towards the furthest point of the singularim.
The above observations are all made by an external observer outside the system, and stationary with respect to the centre of the universe, which of course is not really possible, but not hard to imagine. To an observer inside the system, things appear differently, due to the law of relativity. if a particle is traveling at .99 the speed of light, very close to the singularim, then to an observer in the immediate vicinity, also close to the singularim, the wave fronts would not appear squashed, but rather perfectly spherical (diagram B).
This is due to the Lorenz contraction and the time dilation effect. Put simply, it is nothing more than an application of the familiar Doppler Effect. As far as the mythical external observer outside the universe is concerned, the wave front in between the source and the nearest point on the singularim are only moving at .001 faster than the source, whereas the corresponding wave front diametrically opposite furthest from the source, is moving away from the source at 1.99 times light velocity.
Hence, the external observer, stationary with respect to the centre of the universe, would see the wave fronts traveling at .99C very much flattened and distended as in C. However, as far as an observer based on the moving source is concerned, the position does not appear distended like this at all, in the same way that the whistle of an approaching train is constant in pitch (frequency) to the train driver, but higher in pitch to the external observer when approaching and lower when retreating.
The above would appear to give an explanation in terms simple enough to visualise, of how light might behave in the way in which it does. given the way in which we used to think before 1905 and the publication of Einstein’s Special theory of Relativity, the comprehension of the constancy and isotropy of light presents a problem to many non physicists. But the expansion of a singularim, at light velocity causing all radiation within in it to duplicate its action, is a solution which any interested non physicist should be able to grasp very quickly.
Whether or not there is such a thing as a singular edge to the universe, and whether the latter is closed and finite, are of course, unknown and subjects for supposition. But the application of this assumption presents an easy answer to what used to be a problematical for non-physicists attempting to understand Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. If a mathematician could immediately show a flaw in the argument on the isotropic behaviour of light as posited above, then I would be much obliged to have it explained, but, if it could be shown to be correct on these assumptions, then it opens up many intriguing considerations.
The above was drafted in about 2010, but since then another paper has been placed on the academia.edu website titled ‘Mach’s Principle, Gravitation and Dark matter’ which is qualified by the fact and existence of the
observable universe. This puts the above conjecture in a far more positive light. This, together with a few other recent papers from recent years, have been placed below towards the end of this website.